RUSKIN, Fla. - A Ruskin man claiming to be a masseuse sexually battered at least one client, detectives say. Now, they are reaching out to the public to find out if there are more victims.
On March 29, a woman who had back pain contacted 68-year-old Jose Garcia about receiving a massage. They agreed to a price, and she drove to his Ruskin home, where he provided masseuse services, according to the sheriff's office. However, detectives said he "proceeded to sexually batter the victim during the massage."
They said Garcia only speaks Spanish and admitted the crime to detectives. He faces four counts of sexual battery, and he could face additional charges.
Detectives said they could not find evidence that Garcia is licensed. They said he claimed to receive his training in Mexico.
"It's believed that he has provided massage services for at least 12 years and has run his business through word of mouth out of his home," according to a news release from the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. "Most, if not all, of his clients speak only Spanish."
Zara Mohammed, the co-owner of Z Beauty Academy in Brandon, teaches students going into the beauty industry. She said customers looking for a massage should always look out for a few things: A clean, open, inviting location and perhaps most important:
"Please look for licensure and do not have them come to your home don’t go to people's homes that’s how we're going to keep people safe," she said.
Anyone who believes they could be a victim or may have additional information on the case can contact the agency by calling 813-247-8200.
"This is a man, who took advantage of people who came to him seeking help for their ailments," said Sheriff Chad Chronister in a statement. "Our fear now, is that there are more victims out there who may not speak English or know they can come forward to report these crimes. Thanks to our diverse group of talented, caring, and bilingual deputies, we are here to help them seek the justice they deserve."